Spain: Impunity for border control killings in the Canary island - No charges in case involving Guardia Civil patrol boat which sank dinghy near Lanzarote in 2012

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On 13 October 2015, El Diario newspaper reported that the third instruction court in Arrecife shelved the case involving the sinking of a dinghy by a Guardia Civil patrol boat in December 2012 which resulted in a Moroccan boy's death and the disappearance of six other passengers.

It is a striking decision, considering the existence of a video recorded by the electronic border surveillance system's (SIVE) cameras which show the patrol boat mowing down the dinghy which was heading to Lanzarote when it stopped in the water after being spotted and pursued by the patrol boat. The judge's criticism of the plaintiffs in the case was scathing:

"We cannot understand, unless we view it from the perspective of political and media opportunism, how someone can maintain and accusatory stance and press for charges against the crew of the Cabaleiro patrol boat".

In dismissing the allegations against the Guardia Civil officers, the judge argued that the regulations and operative protocols which were disregarded (such as approaching dinghies in a motor launch rather than the patrol boat) become

"worthless paper in front of the situations, which exceed any normative framework imposed by the cold paper of norms, when it is the sea which imposes its order and when anyone who has a minimum experience of the sea is fully conscious that the sea does not submit to either protocols or norms, and the operative guidelines are imposed by her".

Moreover, the Guardia Civil's "dedication, sacrifice and self-sacrifice in these rescue missions are unquestionable", and the case was deemed a general charge against its sea rescue service.

Lawyer Daniel Arencibia, who represented SOS Racismo in the popular accusation in this case dismissed such notions. He was quoted by Canarias 7 arguing that it "is just seeking justice for the people who died". Announcing an appeal, he noted that the judge did not even mention the names of six victims, "Jihad Zouyga, Nouredine Sadiki, Redouane Boulal, Hasan Mohandis, Rachid Amidane y Abdelali Elhajrani", although the Moroccan consulate had provided them to the Spanish authorities. "While it is true that the sea does not submit to laws and international regulations", he added, "it is up to people to do so" and the officer in charge of the patrol boat must explain his reasons for failing to comply.


Archivado el caso de la patrullera de la Guardia Civil que arrolló a una patera en Lanzarote, El Diario, 13.10.2015,

SOS Racismo replica que solo busca justicia para los 7 muertos de la patera Canarias 7, EFE 13-10-2015

Un vídeo desmonta la versión oficial sobre el choque de una patrullera contra una patera, Cadena Ser, 11.3.2013: Video of the incident from the Cadena Ser radio station's website

Previous Statewatch coverage: Spain: When border controls kill

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